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PHS boys soccer reaches state semi

Following a District 11 overtime win over Emmaus in the championship game, the Parkland High School boys soccer team has continued its winning ways, coming out on top in the first two rounds of the PIAA Class 4A state tournament.

The Trojans defeated Central Bucks East and Father Judge to reach the state semifinals.

Parkland needed penalty kicks to win its first-round matchup against District 1’s fifth place team. After a scoreless regulation and two overtimes, the Trojans pulled it out 4-3 in the shootout for a 1-0 win.

“The two state games were dog fights,” said head coach Scott Mang. “The game really showed how tough we are as a team, both physically and mentally, which was a goal of ours from the beginning of the season.

“We matched up very well against CB East and both teams had their chances during the course of play. Both goalkeepers were exceptional and made big time saves during the game to keep their teams in it. We both battled for 110 minutes. Both teams were exhausted. Matty Link, our goalie, came up huge by saving the first two shots. It took a lot of pressure off our guys during the penalty kick shootout.”

Against District 12 champ Father Judge, Parkland scored a pair of goals and played outstanding defense for a 2-1 victory and trip to the state semifinals.

“Father Judge was a very fast-paced and physical game, which is typical of schools from the Philadelphia Catholic League,” Mang said. “Doug Martinez scored about 11 minutes into the game off a beautiful Ty Sosik cross. Then Dougie picked the Father Judge center back’s pocket and dribbled the length of the field to beat their keeper one-on-one.

“The boys worked hard and our back line did a great job neutralizing their big-time forwards. They are the best back line in the state in my opinion. They can shut down the best of the best attacking teams and they can attack with the best of our attacking players. They are all dual-threat players for sure and we wouldn’t be where we are without those four.”

This is Mang’s first season as head coach for the Trojans and the deepest run in states for the program in a few years. He has been enjoying the experience thus far.

“What excites me about this season and running through the PIAA tournament is seeing the boys, the coaches, and all of our families so excited and happy,” said Mang. “It’s the best time of the year in my opinion and we will enjoy it every minute we can. There are only four teams left in the state of PA playing at the 4A level, so we are extremely blessed to experience every opportunity we get. We are packing the stands for each game and making new friends and fans along the way. It’s exciting to see the school district and the surrounding communities in the Lehigh Valley show their support to the team and the program.”

Next up is a matchup against District 1 champ Lower Merion (22-1) in the semifinals, which were postponed because of Tuesday’s rain and rescheduled for Wednesday.

“I think we match up very well with Lower Merion,” Mang said. “Our coaching staff has put in a tremendous amount of time watching tape and preparing for each game. We will have a good plan and will make a few adjustments, however, at the end of the day we will just try to be the best version of ourselves, and we will represent District 11 well.”

A win in the semifinals would send the Trojans to Saturday’s state championship game against either District 1 runner-up Conestoga (18-4) or District 7 runner up Seneca Valley (20-1-1). The Class 4A state title game is slated for 7 p.m. at Eagle View Middle School in Mechanicsburg.

The Trojans are one of three Lehigh Valley-area boys soccer teams with a chance to play for a state title Saturday as Northwestern Lehigh (2A) and Moravian Academy (A) also reach this week’s semifinal rounds in their respective brackets.

PRESS PHOTO BY DON HERB Doug Martinez scored two goals in Parkland's state quarterfinal win over Father Judge.